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iPhone 16’s Capture button might be a bigger upgrade than USB-C and the Action button for me

Published Jan 1st, 2024 12:26PM EST
iPhone 15 Pro profile shows the Action button.
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

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It’s not that I didn’t know the iPhone’s Camera app is one of the apps I use most, but the holidays just made me realize how important it is. Also, the prospect of having a dedicated Capture button on the iPhone 16 that would offer immediate access to the Camera app and help me snap pics and videos faster than ever would be a bigger upgrade. It might be an even bigger upgrade than the USB-C and Action button that the iPhone 15 series brought in.

The Capture button is reportedly a pressure-sensitive capacitive button that will open the camera when pressed. Rumors say that holding the button down might launch video recording first. I did speculate that the iPhone 16’s Capture button might push users to record more Spatial videos that play best on the upcoming Vision Pro spatial computer.

But for me, I just want two things: even quicker access to the camera and a better-placed dedicated shutter button. You’ll say we already have some of those things on iPhone. And I tend to agree. But, again, the holidays made me realize how useful a Capture button might be.

Faster access to the iPhone camera

I’m not talking about taking photos with loved ones or anything like that. Though that’s one thing you tend to do a lot on Christmas and New Year’s. Add to that all the sightseeing pics during your travels, and your Photos app will start selling.

I’m talking about all the other ways I might use the Camera app during such a busy season.

I routinely take pics of products I might want to buy, making a quick visual shopping list. I don’t just do it at Christmas. Currently, the Camera app is the best way to remember things. Like where I saw a particular product and the price.

Then there’s all the traveling that takes place around the holidays. Again, the Camera app comes in handy. I tend to snap pics of the useful information I think I might need. Like the local train schedule, the available connections at a stop, or the list of delayed flights. Yes, there are apps for that, but the photos will come in handy.

iPhone 15 Screen and USB-C port.
iPhone 15 Screen and USB-C port. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Finally, there’s all the walking and running I do, and I don’t stop during the winter. Whereas I didn’t use to wear gloves until a few years ago, I now do. That makes operating the iPhone more cumbersome at times, though most gloves nowadays work with touchscreens.

Oh, and I hold the iPhone in my left hand, which means reaching the Volume buttons to press the shutter isn’t an easy task.

A dedicated Capture button like the one MacRumors described a few times earlier this year could fix all of that. Here’s a quote from their more recent coverage that stuck with me:

The Capture Button will be a capacitive button with haptic feedback rather than a mechanical button, and it is expected to include a force sensor that can recognize pressure. The location of the button may make it easy to trigger, but if it is activated via pressure, it could be that holding it down will launch into the camera and allow video recording to start. The different pressure levels could also open up the camera for either a photo or a video (specifically a spatial video), but that’s just speculation at this point.

I’ve realized I want that sort of quick access to the Camera app, especially if the button can recognize pressure. Such a feature might mean you can launch the Camera app in photo mode faster than before. It might also impact the speed of the shutter, similar to a more professional cameras.

All the ways to open the Camera app

Of course, I know you can access the Camera very fast on iPhone. Here are all the ways I can think of to get your photos and videos done quickly.

  • From the Lock Screen, by pressing and holding the Camera icon
  • From the Lock Screen by swiping left on the screen
  • From the Control Center, if you have added the Camera button
  • By telling Siri to take a photo or using a shortcut
  • From the Home Screen after unlocking the iPhone and navigating to the Camera app location
  • With the Action button (on iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max)

I use on of the first two, but that involves holding the phone and doing a gesture. With the Capture button, I could get into the Camera while I take out the phone from my pocket. It could be very fast, shaving seconds of access.

This could be very handy when it comes to memories you want to make sure you capture as they happen. But faster access to the Camera app would be definitely something I’d appreciate.

iPhone 15 Pro Max cameras
iPhone 15 Pro Max camera system.

As for snapping photos or recording videos, you can use the digital shutter button or one of the Volume keys to either take a picture or a video. As a reminder, pressing and holding will let you record video. But wouldn’t it be easier to just make it happen with the Capture button? Say you pressed it to open the Camera app, you then have the finger on it. You’re ready to start snapping away.

I’ll also point out another big rumored iPhone 16 upgrade, Apple’s own ChatGPT-like AI. Built-in generative AI will probably let you use photos in your conversations with AI, just like the ChatGPT app does. That’s another reason to be able to take pictures and videos faster than before.

Sometimes, tricks like these theoretical use cases for the Capture button would make the iPhone faster to operate. You don’t need a faster processor or more RAM for that. Just ways to shave off seconds from doing frequent tasks like taking photos.

The USB-C port and the Action button were not good enough reasons to make me jump from the iPhone 14 Pro to the iPhone 15 Pro. But, if the Capture button will be tied to Camera operation, it’ll be the main hardware upgrade for me. And the good news is that the Capture button should be available on all the iPhone 16 versions, not just the Pros.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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